By Chuck Housteau
The Ursuline High football team unloaded all of its offensive arsenal on St. Thomas Aquinas in the first half of Saturday’s 52-14 victory.
The Irish (6-0) had 11 different running backs carry the ball for more than 300 yards as the Irish jumped ahead 52-0 by halftime. Six of those ball carriers scored eight touchdowns at Joe Lane Stadium in Mineral Ridge.
Junior varsity and freshmen players from both teams saw a majority of the action during a rain storm in the second half.
“I think our older kids did a real good job early in the game especially running the ball,” Ursuline coach Dan Reardon said. “We had a lot of backs touch the ball in the first half and they all responded pretty well.”
One of the guys with the biggest smile on his face following the game was senior Jeff Podolsky who has been a three-year starter and go-to guy for the Irish on offense, defense and special teams.
“This was a lot of fun tonight,” said Podolsky who celebrated his birthday by scoring his first touchdown of the season on a 9-yard run.
Podolsky also caught a pass and rambled 64 yards before getting caught from behind on the two-yard line.
He also kicked four extra points and spearheaded an Irish defense which held St. Thomas to negative yards and zero first downs in the first half.
“We executed pretty well tonight in some tough conditions,” Podolsky said. “We really weren’t happy with our performance last week [a 53-14 win over Notre Dame Cathedral Latin] and we had a really great week of practice to focus on cleaning up our mistakes.
“We definitely had a great game tonight and had a lot of fun playing out here.”
Ursuline struck quickly by driving 78 yards in 10 plays before Akise Teague scored on an 18-yard run.
None of the other drives took nearly as long as Ursuline scored early and often.
Teague added another touchdown on a run 15 yards while sophomore Trumain Thigpen added two on run of 12 and 64.
Trevor Smith, Jesse Curry and Alex Ruiz also scored on short runs.
Reardon was happy with the way the Irish were able to execute in the inclement weather.
“Any time you can execute and take care of the football like our older guys did in the first half you have to be pleased,” Reardon said.
The Irish move into the meat of their schedule with a tough game against St. Charles of Columbus next week followed by games with Steubenville, Cardinal Mooney and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.